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Phobass III! The final frontier of electro-bassery

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pyrohaz, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. pyrohaz


    Apr 28, 2009
    Cheshire, UK
    Hello fellow bassists!

    Of the few members of you that may know/remember, I've designed a bass guitar styled digital synthesizer utilizing touch sensors and algorithms for hand position sensing.

    Cutting right to the chase! Here is a quick video of the third prototype in action: http://youtu.be/gZFlAVRy4oM

    Note: It may be 16mins long but you can just skip around to have a quick listen to patch possibilities, its only me talking half the time!

    A quick listing of some Phobass 3 features/specs:
    • 16bit 48kHz output
    • Multiple distortion algorithms
    • Built in digital effects
    • Multiple patches
    • Removeable memory card for patch transfers
    • Analog modelling and phase modulation synthesis
    • 7 selectable waveshapes with initially configurable pulsewidth

    I'm currently in the design progress of Phobass 4 having redesigned some of the neck and i'm still figuring out a better method for the string block for detecting the users right hand position and a patch saving method.

    Absolutely any feedback that you guys could give me is utterly golden! Tell me any features that you would want incorporated into an instrument like this, I'm making it for the bassist, not for the multi-national musical instrument companies.

  2. purfektstranger


    Apr 10, 2003
    Sounds like my old Casio keyboard. I think it would be cool if you could make it sound more like a bass.

    Edited: The sound is not my thing but I have never seen a bass/synthesizer like the one you have designed. I think that if you were able to incorporate many different sound options, including something close to a real bass, then your synthesizer would appeal to a larger audience of potential buyers. Good luck with your project and my apologies if my initial comment offended you.
  3. Musicians use instruments as a tool.
    In that video we see only a toy.
  4. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Tough crowd.
  5. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Audio Mike Lull Custom Guitars Gallien Krueger amplification Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass Electronics
    Keep up the good work.


    I could easily see some industrial style band using something like that in the future.
  6. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Don't let those negatives derail you...
    Quite an endeavor. for sure, and searching for feedback is a lot more open-minded than not- 'To Your Success'...
    It's obvious that you've put a lot into this, and I can think of some poss offshoots, when you get that far along.
    However, it is the TONE of the electric bass that has made it so popular in music, and listening to what has made it this well-liked will possibly help you add (depth and fullness, etc) what is not there yet to your work.
    But then, it wasn't always this way- before electronics were introduced, the bass tone was made acoustically, with what they avail at the time.
    Formula One cars (in their current config) weren't previously avail, either- didn't prevent anyone from racing, tho. I don't need wheels on something to race it.
    The first electric bass's didn't sound like uprights, either, yet look where they are.
    Hang in there, make it yours, but other's input (good and bad) can be crucial to success.
    Thanks for bringing it to the table- will be interesting to see where it evolves.
  7. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Personally not my bag.


    I wanna invest in it!
  8. There are probably 99% of the people on this forum (including the negative commenters no doubt) who could not design something like this.

    I did some work with electronic music back in the early 70's and that controller is just fantastic.

    I would suggest adding a straight MIDI control option so that it could be used as a bass in addition to a synthesizer.

    If there were thumbs-up smilies I would give you several.

    Rick B.
  9. dedpool1052


    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    i really like this idea and i think it's got quite a bit of potential. i would like to see more natural, non-synthy type sounds like upright, electric bass, fretless electric, flats/rounds (maybe one of the controls can change the tonality from flats on one end and rounds on the other with a lot if inbetweens), violin, grand piano. i could see myself using this in place of a keyboard/piano as it's much easier for me to play a bass than it is a keyboard/piano due to the limited dexterity in my hands.
  10. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, even if I do not agree with it. Fair is fair. That being said, it is incredibly presumptuous to assume "we" all feel the same way. Don't do it…ever! :mad:

    Keep at it, Pyrohaz! Personally, I love to see a proper Mad Scientist at work. Your Phobass is as cool as it is mind-boggling.

    P.S.: Why do I suddenly have the urge to hear Rammstein do a cover of "Vital Signs"?
  11. Hotblack

    Hotblack Pay the cost to be the boss. Supporting Member

    May 20, 2002
    Provided content for Genzler Amplification
    Don't know why, but I could imagine Tony Levin playing the hell outta' that thing.
    Nice work!
  12. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Very cool. Screw the natural sounds, there's no point in reinventing the wheel.
    1. Make a lin/log adjustable CV output so we can control modular synths.
    2. Make your sustain trigger controlled by how long you hold your finger on the fret. This would negate your need for your "string" mode and be much more natural to the way we bass players play.
    3. MIDI of course, then all those folks that want a real sound can use a sample box.
    4. Any cabling coming out of the bass should be one cable only. If you need a break out box to split midi, cv, analog/digital onboard sound, etc then that would work I think.
    5. Make a fretless version with 4 really long ribbon controllers
    6. Glide?
    7. Make it cost less than $100 USD. LOL :bag:
    8. Add in sequencer looping capabilities, i.e. you can loop the sequence and play on top of it with same or different patch.

    The proximity sensor is a great idea as is the movable sequencer. Your tapping at the end starts to show the potential. Fantastic bit of engineering in progress, keep it up and keep us posted!
  13. Ignore the haters. That is fantastic. We've seen previous attempts to make a keyboard-type instrument that you can play using a guitar/bass style fingerboard, but they've all been half-baked. That interface you've got there is amazing. Hope you've got that patented before the big boys see that vid!

    As for sound, that's all downstream of the fingerboard, so you can tweak that to get a variety of bass tones. I can imagine getting a great Thomas Dolby-style synth bass tone.

    I agree with the earlier poster who mentioned a MIDI interface. Onboard sounds plus a way to control a full up synth would rock.

    I give you the Futurama Product Award:

  14. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    C'mon, man.
  15. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    C'mon, man.
  16. Turxile


    May 1, 2011
    Good stuff.
    Don't worry about the negative comments, and keep improving it.
    Personally, I would like to have some line6 varied kind of patches as well..
  17. evilgabe


    Jan 30, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    That looks great. I'd love to hear what the sound is like recorded direct as opposed to just being picked up by the camera mic. I've been getting more into synthesizers lately and that looks very promising as a controller or stand alone instrument. Keep up the good work.
  18. Halabja


    Jul 16, 2011
    As a synth junky I only have two words for this.

    LOVE IT!
  19. handofseven

    handofseven Soaking up the cathode rays...

    Mar 23, 2010
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Don't mind the naysayers... What you've made is really cool! :bassist:
  20. circuitspore


    Aug 27, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    As a bass player that is always trying different ways to make my bass sound like a synth, I LOVE this idea. My only real input is that MIDI out would be an awesome addition. The tones you're getting are cool, but from a entrepreneurial/production/marketing standpoint, I think the potential capacity to use this thing as a MIDI controller could make it a viable product. I'd love to use that thing to control my old Novation BassStation. :bassist::bassist::bassist:

    I'm pretty much with this guy:


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